Alexander Stubb wins Finland’s presidential election

Helsinki [Finland], February 12 (ANI): Alexander Stubb won the election runoff against ex-Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto to become Finland’s next president and steer the country’s foreign and security policy, reported Al Jazeera.

After all votes were counted on Sunday, independent Haavisto of the green left received 48.4 per cent of the vote, while Stubb of the centre-right National Coalition Party received 51.6 per cent.

The initial percentage of voters cast was 70.7 per cent. Stubb, the Nordic country’s former Prime Minister who began his career in politics in 2004 as a member of the European Parliament, defeated Haavisto with 27.2 per cent of the vote on January 28 in the first round of voting, reported Al Jazeera.

After YLE, the state broadcaster in Finland, presented a projection on Sunday night that indicated Stubb had won; Haavisto, 65, announced his defeat. At Helsinki City Hall, where the candidates and the media were watching the results come in, he shook Stubb’s hand and wished him well.

"This has been a fair, great race," Stubb told Haavisto after the result was out.

"I’m proud that I have been able to run with you in these elections. Thanks for a good race," he added.

With this vote, Finland, now a NATO member enters a new era. For decades, its presidents have been chosen to promote diplomacy, especially with neighbouring Russia, and to avoid joining military alliances to defuse tensions between Moscow and NATO. However, after Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and the nation joined NATO in April of last year, Finns decided against taking on that position, Al Jazeera reported.

The incoming president will take over under the security cover of the Western alliance, succeeding Sauli Niinisto, who is retiring after serving two six-year terms and has been dubbed "the Putin Whisperer" for his prior strong ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The person succeeding Niinisto will play a key role in formulating Finland’s policies for NATO, leading the country’s diplomatic and security strategy in close coordination with the government, and serving as the head of state for the armed services. (ANI)